Zuma outlines strides made in land reform

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma says the next administration will need to take forward a number of policies, legislative and practical interventions that have been made positively in the area of land reform in the country.

Delivering the sixth State of the Nation Address, the last one for the current administration, to a packed National Assembly on Thursday evening, Zuma commended the many strides that have been made in this sector since the dawn of democracy in the country.

“We have made good progress in the land reform programme. Since 1994, nearly 5 000 farms, comprising 4.2 million hectares, have been transferred to black people, benefiting over 200 000 families,” he said.

President Zuma said nearly 80 000 land claims, totalling 3.4 million hectares, have been settled, further benefiting 1.8 million people.

He said the next administration will need to take forward a number of policies, legislative and practical interventions, to further redress the dispossession of the black majority of their fertile ancestral land.

These include matters relating to the establishment of the Office of the Valuer-General and thereby opening of the lodgement of claims.

Public urged to submit comments

South Africans have been urged to submit their written comments following the publication of the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill 2013 and the Memorandum on the Objects of the Bill.

The Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill, 2013, proposes certain amendments to the Restitution of Land Rights Act of 1994 to extend the date for lodging a claim for restitution to 18 June 2018.

It also proposes to further regulate the appointment, tenure of office, remuneration and the terms and conditions of service of judges of the Land Claims Court, as well as to further amend certain provisions which are aimed at promoting the effective implementation of the act.

The explanatory memorandum of the draft bill indicates that the Restitution of Land Rights Act provides that a claim for the restitution of land must be lodged by no later than 31 December 1998, due to a number of problems experienced in the application of the restitution programme.

The evaluation indicated that the programme had been thwarted by a number of limitations, which resulted in various categories of persons, and communities whose rights in land were taken as a result of colonial and apartheid laws being excluded from the restitution process. - SAnews.gov.za